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Frogs in the Pros Update: Matt Carpenter

The All-Star battles an injury in a fight to help his team grab a NL Wild Card spot.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

When we last looked at Matt Carpenter, he was battling a jammed finger that occurred in a game against the Reds back on June 9. He came back to play on June 10 (and managed to hit a homerun), but was out of the lineup for June 11 and 12. He returned on June 14 to face the Astros in St. Louis, where he only managed 1 hit in 4 at bats in a 5-2 loss. On June 15, the Cardinals faced the Astros in Game 2. Carpenter had 2 hits and struck out once in 4 at bats, but the Cardinals lost 4-1.

The Cardinals began a 3-game series against Texas on June 17. Carpenter hit 2 singles and walked twice, but he couldn’t get around for the run. The Cardinals lost 1-0. June 18 brought Game 2. In the bottom of the 5th, Carpenter walked and made it to third on Kolten Wong’s single to right field. Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch, which left the bases loaded when Stephen Piscotty hit a single to right, bringing Carpenter in for the run. That made the score 3-0 Cardinals. Unfortunately for the Cards, the Rangers were able to come back and win 4-3. June 19 brought the final game of the series, and it brought nothing special for Carpenter. He had a couple hits and a couple walks, but nothing that brought him home. The game ended with another Cardinals loss 5-4.

June 20-22 saw the Cardinals in Chicago to face the Cubs. In Game 1, Carpenter walked twice and struck out twice, but the Cardinals managed to squeak out a 3-2 win.

Game 2 finally brought back the Carpenter we all know: he hit a home run in the top of the 3rd to put St. Louis up 2-1. After Matt Holliday hit a 2-run homer in the same inning, the Cardinals were able to make it 4-1, and the Cubs couldn’t come back. The final score was 4-3 Cards.

On June 22, Carpenter walked to get on base, got to third on Diaz’s single to right field, and was brought home when Piscotty grounded into a fielder’s choice to third. That made it 2-0 Cardinals and actually ended Jake Arrieta’s night pitching for Chicago. In the top of the 6th, Carpenter hit a double to right center field and was brought home by a Diaz home run. Spencer Patton finally seemed to get control for the Cubs and kept the Cardinals from scoring in the 8th and 9th. But the damage was done and the Cardinals won 7-2.

June 24 brought a series against the Mariners. The score was 1-0 Mariners going into the 8th. Carpenter was intentionally walked and got to second when Diaz walked after him. Holliday grounded into a fielder’s choice to left field, and Carpenter was able to get home on an error by third baseman Kyle Seager. That made the score 3-1. Unfortunately, Adam Lind of Seattle hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th to make it 4-3 and end the game.

On June 25, Carpenter walked in the top of the 3rd and got to third before the inning ended. He had a great double to deep center in the top of the 9th, too, but Diaz and Holliday made outs 2 and 3 to end the game before the Cardinals could catch up to the Mariners. They lost 5-4.

On June 26, the Cards played Game 3 against the Mariners in Seattle, and it was a battle to the end. Carpenter had a huge game, with six total at bats. He had a homerun to right field in the top of the 6th to make it 6-3. The Cardinals were ahead going into the 9th inning, when both Pham and Carpenter hit homeruns to make the final score 11-6.

June 27 saw the Cardinals on the road again—this time in Kansas City to face the Royals. Carpenter’s game was a lot less exciting, but hey, nobody’s that perfect, right?? He struck out once, had two ground outs, and a fly out. The Cardinals lost the game 6-2.

Game 2 was on June 28, and Carpenter had a much better game. After striking out in the first and a walk that led to nothing in the 2nd, he kicked off the top of the 5th with a home run to right center field. That made the score 4-2. He came back in the top of the 6th and hit a double to deep right, bringing in Wong and advancing Garcia to third. When Holliday grounded into a fielder’s choice to second, Carpenter made it home, bringing the score to 8-2. The Cardinals won the game 8-4 and returned home to face the Royals for Games 3 and 4.

On June 29, Carpenter had another “rest game” (I’m awarding him this right due to his awesomeness). In 5 at bats, he had a walk, 2 strike outs, and a single that didn’t get him anywhere. The Cardinals lost 3-2.

June 30 was the final game of the series, and Carpenter had another tough game. He struck out once and walked twice in a game that ended with a 4-2 Cardinals loss.

July 1 brought Game 1 at home against the Brewers. Carpenter got on base on a single to shortstop. Diaz hit a double to left field that brought Carpenter home to make it 1-0 Cardinals. Then in the bottom o the 4th, Carpenter singled to right field to bring in Molina and advance two more runners, who were later brought in on a single by Holliday. The Cardinals went on to win the game 7-1.

Carpenter sat out on July 2 due to a personal matter. He returned on July 3 for the final game against the Brewers. It was a close game and the Cardinals had a lot of help from Carpenter. He hit a single to center field in the bottom of the 4th, bringing in Pham to tie the game at 2. Then in the bottom of the 6th, Carpenter walked and was on second when Piscotty hit a grand slam to bring in Pham, Carpenter, and Holliday. That made the score 8-2, and the Brewers tried to catch up but couldn’t. The Cardinals won 9-8.

The Cardinals remained home for a 4-game series against Pittsburgh next. On July 4, Carpenter had a strong game with with a single to right field that brought in Gyorko in the bottom of the 5th, and a double to deep right to bring in Wong in the bottom of the 9th. Those were the only runs for the Cardinals, who lost 4-2.

On July 5, Carpenter had two strike outs, a couple ground outs, and a fly out. The Cardinals lost 5-2. In other news, he was selected for the National League All-Star Team!

On July 6, struck out swinging in the bottom of the 1st. In the bottom of the 3rd, he took a swing and immediately winced and turned to the dugout. A trainer met him on the field, and he subsequently left the game with an injured oblique muscle. The Cardinals lost 7-5.

Baseball trainers don’t take pulled oblique muscles very lightly. Carpenter was invited to the All-Star Game, but sat out due to his injury, though he still traveled to the game and partook in the festivities.

That brings us to August. After a full month off, Carpenter returned on August 5 to face the Braves in front of a hometown crowd. He didn’t have any luck at the plate, but neither did any of the other Cardinals, except Jaime Garcia, who brought in the only run of the game. The Cardinals won 1-0.

August 6 was just plain ugly, y’all. Carpenter had no luck at the plate, made an error in the top of the 1st, and the Braves kept those tomahawks chopping away at the Cards the whole game. It ended in a 13-5 Cardinals loss.

Carpenter was pulled from the game on August 7, as a precaution.

He returned August 8 for a game against Cincinnati. The rest seemed to do him some good, and he hit a single to right field in the bottom of the 9th to bring in Molina and Pham to make the score 4-2 Cincinnati. The Cardinals were able to score three more runs to win the game 5-4.

On August 9, Carpenter had yet another uncharacteristic error at second in the top of the 8th that allowed the Reds to score. He wasn’t any better at the plate, and the Cardinals lost 7-4.

August 10 saw Carpenter doing Carpenter things again. He led the bottom of the 1st with a home run to make the score 1-0 Cardinals. He had a triple to center in the bottom of the 3rd and was brought home by Moss on a double to deep center. That made it 2-0. St. Louis managed to score one more to end the game with a 3-2 victory and the series win.

Finally, August 11 took the Cardinals back to Chicago. Carpenter’s M.O. seems to be a great game followed by a game you want to forget about followed by a game that reminds you just how fantastic he is. August 11 was one of the mediocre games. Not much happened—1 hit in 6 at bats, no runs, no RBIs, 2 strike outs, no walks. The Cardinals lost 4-3.

Carpenter clearly sets the tone for the Cardinals lineup, both at the plate and in the field. He’s now up to 15 homeruns and 56 RBIs this season.

Carpenter’s current AVG is .294. You can see his full stats here.